Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Key to Eating Out on a HEALTH Budget

Image courtesy of stockimages at

So we've all been there before.

Monday through Thursday we're doing just fine; sticking to our diets and putting in work like a BOSS when all of a sudden, we get that text from a friend/coworker/relative that says:

"Hey! We're all getting together after work/school tonight. We're meeting up at (enter ridiculously delicious and satisfyingly sinful restaurant) at 8pm. Show up!"

Now, you're in a dilemma; a pickle of sorts. Should you splurge all of your hard work on this un-healthy, heathen feast and cry all Saturday morning about the 5 pounds you gained back? Or should you risk being called anti-social and isolate yourself from all outside contact with people?

Well, now you can have your cake and eat it too...well, that is, as long as you don't eat too much of it.

Cheats are OK to do here and there as long as it is done with discipline. However, being in the social atmosphere changes everything. Humans are very complex, yet predictable creatures. When we're surrounded by people we are comfortable with, we eat. When we are uncomfortable, we eat. No matter what the circumstance/situation/occasion/holiday is, we eat.

So how do we enjoy ourselves in these environments if we can't eat what's on the menu? Usually everything is fried, swimming in oils and salt or doused with sugary good...I mean, badness.

Well, if you're going out tonight, here's a solution that works for me every time:

Look up the healthy food options before you enter the restaurant

That's it.

Just take out your smartphone/tablet or use the office computer (don't tell them I told you that) and literally Google "Healthy options at_______."

It might be a little inconvenient at times, but it will save you the guess work in the restaurant when you slip into your comfort zone and become less concerned with calories and more concerned with feeding your feelings.

Trust me, once you figured out your options beforehand, it'll be easy to order. You won't even have to look at the menu either! Say bye-bye to last minute decisions and changing your mind at the sight of a grease-induced burger.

This could mean more time for chatting it up and maybe, if you're lucky, your friends will let you steal a bite (or two) of their food. Just sayin'.

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it. Have a blessed day!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Miracle Child

March 14, 1995 broke the silence in our little family.

It was the day my baby brother, Ian, was born.

His birth, however, was anything but ordinary; it was the work of God.

Being an only child for about 7 years of my life was great. I got all the toys, fruit snacks, and attention all to myself. But being an only child was lonesome and I couldn't help but feel like there had to be more than just talking to a life-size doll that my parents bought me to play with. All my childhood life I just wanted someone to be there with me. Naturally, I wished for a sister; another girl that I could share secrets and have tea parties with.

Of course, God doesn't always give us what we want and I learned that early on in life. Instead, He gives us what we need. He had different plans for my family, bigger than any of us had imagined.

I was elated when my parents told me we were expecting another baby. I dreamed of all the ways I could help and all the things I would teach her (At 7 years old, I was sure God would give me a sister). After waiting and preparing for 9 long months, it was finally time for my mom to deliver.

Dad waited patiently in the waiting room. I learned much later that it was in that waiting room where prayer changed the way my dad saw his unborn child.

My dad had always said being a man was tough. There was this constant pressure from society telling him he needed to provide, to be brave, to be a protector, a fighter, a leader, a heartthrob; the list was endless. The thought of having a son terrified him for these reasons alone.

In that waiting room, that's all he could think about. Panicked about what God would give us, my dad began to pray for a baby girl. He reasoned with God, telling him his fears of raising a son. With so much he still needed to learn about becoming a Godly man, he felt raising a son to do the same in a world growing increasingly numb would be more than he could handle. He saw himself unfit, incapable, and unsure about how to raise a boy better than his dad raised him.

Suddenly, word came around that Mom finally gave a boy. But that wasn't the real news. My infant brother, Ian, was immediately rushed to ICU where he would stay the next few days. Apparently, he was drowning in my mom's womb during the process which left him unable to breath for several, crucial seconds of his life.

Frightened, my mom and dad prayed together, crying while I awaited the arrival of my new baby brother at home with my Tutu (grandma).

It was in that moment my dad realized he was wrong. He realized that God had the power to give and to take away. Suddenly, my dad's prayer changed. He couldn't stand the thought of losing him, his one and only son. He prayed for God's mercy upon his child and that God would forgive him for rejecting his blessing. That night, he allowed God to work in his heart and give him the courage for the road ahead.

One night, my mom fell into a deep sleep and dreamt. In her dream, she was in her hospital bed looking out to the ICU where she saw a man in white standing above Ian's unit, his hand resting upon it. My mom awoke then called the nurse from the phone. "Please check on my son, Ian," she alerted the nurse. As the nurse agreed, my mom could hear the sound of a faint cry over their conversation; a baby's cry.

My brother, Ian, had survived to see another day.

Dad couldn't have been more relieved. God came through and didn't give him what he wanted, but what he needed; what we all needed.

Because of Ian's birth, Dad's heart grew even bigger. He loved his son so much! There was so much that Dad wanted him to experience and learn. Basketball, baseball, wrestling, drawing - the possibilities were endless. But the biggest lesson he wanted Ian to learn was to never give up. If there was anything our dad hated the most, it was quitting. Dad almost gave up the night Ian was born, but through prayer and perseverance, God was faithful. He had equipped our dad to be the man he needed to be in order to raise a son and although he wasn't perfect, he had the courage to try and never give up.

While I wasn't exactly sure what having a little brother was all about, I'm so glad I got to experience one when I did. Ian taught me patience, how to share, and how to care for someone other than myself and I made it my lifelong mission to ensure I was the best big sister he ever had.


My brother has since then grown into a young man and from the outside, some people can hardly believe it. He's quiet, hesitant, and a little unsure of himself. Many people find it hard to understand him because of these traits and, sadly, too few people have stuck around to figure him out.

But if they did, they would find that Ian is so much more than he puts out there. He is one of the most helpful, poetic, generous, hardworking, big-hearted people I know, but he hides behind a wall of insecurity.

He has had to endure a lot being the only boy in the house for so long along with the death of our dad at such a young age. He has been picked on, looked down upon, and discouraged so much that he found it necessary to put these walls up. Many men have come and gone in his life, all more concerned with acting the part than being the part, leaving my brother to wonder what a real man really is.

But thankfully, God works and Ian's figuring it out. He has blessed my brother with opportunity and one day, I believe my brother will find his purpose here. I believe this year is different. I believe that my brother will find his voice, his courage, and his strength soon. I believe that there is a bravery that my brother will soon experience and I believe God is building a story out of his life; one that is bigger than heever imagined.

I believe Ian was and always will be the Miracle Child.

Happy Birthday, Ian Shea Kawika Quinene!